Merrist Wood College are the first Accredited Education Facility

The college’s 400-acre estate features woodlands, wetlands, livestock, gardens and grasslands, as well as a specialist animal management centre. The College’s rare breeds conservation programme supports Portland sheep, Wensleydale sheep, Oxford Sandy & Black pigs, Golden Guernsey goats and rare breeds of poultry.
Luke Gates, Head of Animal Collections at Merrist Wood said: “The RBST is an organisation that we have been passionate about supporting for many years with our first rare breeds arriving at Merrist Wood in 2000. Over the last 7 years we have been serious about developing our rare breeds for teaching and learning and supporting the RBST. We now have ten different breeds who are in need of protection due to low numbers. Many people know about giant pandas and various rhino species needing conservation support, but many of our own native livestock breeds are actually more rare.”

Charlie Dodd, Farm Manager at Merrist Wood added: “This year the RBST is running a campaign called Love a Longwool which is what really spurred us on to become RBST accredited this year. To become the first ever Education Facility rare breeds farm under their new framework is fantastic news for the Activate Learning group. We have just scanned our rare breeds sheep and are excited to announce all are pregnant and with the help of the RBST we look forward to do our part in conserving these breeds.”